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28/11/2018 - 08:30

Developing agriculture in association with cultural and culinary tourism

Within the framework of the Tea Masters Cup International, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the provincial People's Committee held the international conference "Developing agri-food tourism and building the Vietnam tea brand".

Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam enjoyed tea on the sidelines of the conference

Mr. Tran Thanh Nam - Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Mr. Nguyen Dung - Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee attended the conference.

Potentials for development

At the conference’s commencement, Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam affirmed that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is pursuing an initiative to restructure the agricultural sector in association with building new rural areas, to lay a solid foundation for safe, efficient, sustainable, and highly profitable agricultural practices for famers. Particularly, the tea industry has several favorable conditions to develop as there are many varieties of tea whose products meet the requirements of the general quality of the world.

According to Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam, the development of agriculture in general and the tea industry in particular are not just about promoting its products but also tourism industry in the long run. The Ministry is encouraging strategic planning of clean agricultural areas with concentrated production activities and beautiful landscapes, along with additional support services to stimulate tourism development and attract tourists. The promotion of tourism, in return, helps with the consumption of farm produce, public advertisement, as well as local and international brand recognition.

Introducing some delicious tea varieties to the delegates at the conference

For Hue, according to the leaders of the Department of Tourism, agricultural ecotourism is gradually becoming a "strange specialty" in addition to the traditional tourism. Some agriculture-based tours have been operated such as visiting garden houses in Phu Mong - Kim Long or in Thuy Bieu - Luong Quan; sightseeing Thanh Toan tile-roofed bridge and experiencing rural life; visiting La Chu vegetable village and centella farms in Quang Tho; or experiencing fishing practices in Chuon Lagoon and My Thanh fishing village.

In Hue, a number of branded specialties are being developed, contributing to promoting agritourism such as red rice in Quang Dien, thanh tra grapefruit, Hue sour shrimp, centella vegetable in Quang Tho, Hue fig trees in Phu Loc. Some highly lucrative and famous gardens specially for local plants such as pomelos, Hue grapefruit in Thuy Bieu Ward, Huong Van, Phong Thu… those are also the basis for tourism development. As for tea products, Hue has a few celebrated names such as Tuan tea and Truoi tea. Some unique tea products are also exclusively present in Hue such as Quang Tho centella tea, Loc Mai fig tea… being made from the locally available materials in Quang Dien and Phu Loc districts. More significantly, a number of tea products in Hue are processed with a particularly distinctive style, such as Royal tea, Hue Lotus tea, Mộc tea (Osmanthus tea), King tea, or Herbal tea.

Speaking at the conference, Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee Nguyen Dung considered Hue a province with strong food tourism in the country. Hue is implementing the project "the Capital of Cuisine" which focuses on building food museums, researching and promoting safe specialized farming areas to fulfill the rising demands, hence stimulates the development of food tourism alongside developed agriculture.

Tourists visited and experienced growing onions with La Chữ farmers (Huong Chu, Huong Tra)

Culture - food – agriculture

According to Mr. Nguyen Van Phuc, Deputy Director of the Department of Tourism, although agriculture is not the key to the local economic and tourist development like other localities, the advantages of Hue’s cultural heritage, nature, and ecology, especially the well-known food culture help develop agritourism featured with cultural and culinary elements. Through this, food experiencing tours and sightseeing tours to garden houses, suburban farms, and fishing villages in the lagoon can be established.

In order to offer the "culture - food - agriculture" tours, Mr. Nguyen Van Phuc believed that Hue needed first to develop materials for local agricultural specialties, such as Thanh tra grapefruit, lotus, centella, fig, orange, and raw herbs, followed by careful considerations and orientations to select and develop certain favorable farming products and services in each locality in the province. There should also be pilot implementation of certain agricultural production models along with experiencing services in accordance with tourist standards for creating tours, routes, and sites in agritourism.

Delegates at the conference also shared their experience, remarking that Hue should have proper human training solutions for selected agri-tourism models, encourage farmers’ engagement, and raise their awareness of environmental protection and food safety. These are the solid grounds for a sustainable tourism model in accordance with agricultural development.

Cycling around the villages and experiencing being a farmer interested visitors when in Hue

Mr. Ramaz Chanturiya, chairman of the Russian Tea Association, said that the most challenging part of agricultural products in general and tea products in particular is branding. Nowadays, travelers travel not only to know but also discover local culinary art. Some Russian tourists, for example, are tea lovers who travel the world over to discover finest teas worldwide, see how to grow and to process tea, and experience themselves the processing stages. Therefore, in order to attract tourists, the first and foremost step is to build tea branding, promoting Vietnamese famous tea in general and Hue’s in particular. Besides, other agricultural specialized areas also need branding.

Currently, sustainable tourism development is a leading solution for nations worldwide. Developing agri-food tourism linked with Hue culture in particular and Vietnam’s in general will be one of the exemplary models for sustainable tourism development, helping local communities achieve their economic and social goals while protecting the environment and heritage and adapting well to climate change. The practice of green tourism - agritourism and cultural heritage tourism in the context of Hue is potentially a wise direction as long as the cultural heritages, environmental and historical landscapes are preserved and respected; the people and service activities maintain their traditional and cultural values. 

Story and photos by Duc Quang

 

 

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